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Record performance for Ørsted as jobs and investment flow through for wind farms

A RECORD operating profit of £2.67 billion has been reported by Grimsby’s biggest offshore wind investor Ørsted, up 18 per cent on 2016, with earnings from the expanding portfolio of offshore wind farms increasing by 45 per cent.

Record performance for Ørsted as jobs and investment flow through for wind farms

And the Danish giant believes selling a 50 per cent stake in Hornsea Project One later this year could see that figure broken in 2018.

The world’s largest offshore wind farm has just entered construction, 120km off the East Yorkshire coast. 

Chief executive Henrik Poulsen said: “In 2017, we took decisive steps towards completing our strategic transformation to a green energy company. We continued our build-out of green energy generation from offshore wind and biomass, we divested our oil and gas business, and we made the decision to be coal-free by 2023. It was also the year when we won projects both in Germany and the UK, and for the first time offshore wind was able to compete on cost with new-builds of coal and gas-fired power stations.

“2017 was a financially strong year for us. We delivered our highest operating profit ever and achieved delivered performance across our business units. The farm-downs of Walney Extension and Borkum Riffgrund 2 also prove that our partnership model remains very attractive for institutional investors.”

To this end, the company said it expects to sell 50 per cent of Hornsea Project One in the second half of the year, adding that should the divestment materialise in 2018 “EBITDA including new partnerships is expected to be higher than the DKK 22.5 billion (£2.6 billion) achieved in 2017”.

Race Bank, which has just hit full power, drew investor interest before physical above water construction began. Last month its ramp up of generation was credited with helping raise performance expectations, with today’s results coming in at the top end of those.

As well as flagging up a potential spend of between £1.8 billion and £2.1 billion due to the “high level of activity related to our offshore wind farm projects,” Mr Poulsen highlighted strides made in Taiwanese and US waters, with Hornsea Project Two's final investment decision also underlined.

The company is just completing the £25 million onshore substation and cable route that will receive and carry the power from Hornsea's first two phases at North Killingholme, while consultations continue on Hornsea Project Three, to bring electricity ashore in Norfolk.

“In the coming years, we will pursue our objective of continued build-out of offshore wind,” he said. “We also want to make our utility business greener, create a smart power distribution grid and improve our customer experience through digitisation and innovation of our products. In addition, we are working to expand our portfolio of long-term growth opportunities within green energy. “For instance, we have established a new unit to explore energy storage and solar PV projects, and we are also looking more closely at the market for onshore wind.”

Matthew Wright, UK managing director, has previously highlighted how the Humber could be at the heart of such developments.

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